A fox that bit a child over the weekend in Jackson, and possibly two other people in the neighborhood, has tested positive for rabies, officials said.
The fox bit a young girl Saturday in a neighborhood between Aldrich Road and West Connecticut Concourse, according to a statement from the Ocean County Health Department.
The girl’s older brother was able to save the girl by wrestling the animal off of her and capturing it until the animal control arrived, according to a report by CBS.
Jackson Township Animal Control took the fox, which died shortly thereafter, and the girl was undergoing rabies post exposure prophylaxis, the health department said.
The department said it received two other reports of fox bites in the same neighborhood over the weekend, but did not specifically say if the same fox was responsible for the other attacks.
Officials with animal control and the local health department said Friday it was likely the same fox responsible for the other bites but that there was no way to know for sure.
“The OCHD is always reminding people of the potential for an animal to become infected with rabies and the potential for human exposures,” Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator/Officer said in a statement. “But it does happen and that’s why it’s so important to remain vigilant especially in the warmer months when the potential for wildlife interactions with humans increase.”
While there is no cure for rabies, human infection is extremely rare, officials said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are typically only about one to three cases of rabies documented in humans each year and the NJ Department of Health estimated that nearly 2,500 people in New Jersey receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis due to exposure to known or suspect rabid animals.
Two of the most common carriers of rabies in Ocean County in the past has been bats and raccoons, the department said. Last year, there were two cases of animals that tested positive for rabies in the county; both were raccoons.
Reporter Anthony G. Attrino contributed to this post
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